We're sitting topsides (with beers of course) in Alligator River Marina getting re-aquainted with an old friend that we haven't seen in quite some time - the sun!!! Man does that feel good - it's not even all that warm but immediately upon docking, we broke out the shorts and tee-shirts to wash down the boat and are currently soaking up the rays while we can!
Sun pig (a/k/a Tammy) here...as if you couldn't tell already
We finally left Elizabeth City, North Carolina early this morning for points south - we and about 12 other boats have been holed up in Elizabeth City for the past 4 days riding out a big storm that threw us 30-35 knot winds with gusts up to 40 and torrential rain. As John mentioned in his last entry, Elizabeth City is a great little town full of warm and hospitable people...but after 6 days there, we were getting cabin fever and Gypsies was more than ready to kick up her heels again to head south. I think the guys on the town dock, which advertises free dockage for 48 hours, were ready to have us gone too!! As one guy kidded us last night, "you're not cruisers, you're squatters!" Yeah, what was his point??
There is a great tradition in Elizabeth City called the Rose Buddies which was started by two gentlemen many years ago and continues to this day with their sons and other interested town folks carrying on the tradition. Whenever there are at least 5 new boats at the town dock, they hold a wine and cheese party to welcome all the mariners - before the original Rose Buddies passed away, they would also give roses to each of the women from the rose bushes in their gardens. Since then, the rose bushes have been replanted to the wharf area and everyone is encouraged to take a bloom to brighten their boat. Our rose is on our pilothouse table in a very classy vase - a Coors Light can!!
We were there long enough to attend 2 such bashes - time to go!! Seriously though, it was a great opportunity to meet the other cruisers in town - most of them were from Canada, although there were 3 of us boats from Maine - can you believe it, that's a long way from home - although I guess by now, Gypsies is really our home!!
Seriously though, Elizabeth City is a very fun little town for anyone heading down the dismal swamp canal and it is even worth the two hour trip up the Pasquotank River if you come down the Virginia cut. Not many places are you met on the docks by the mayor of the town - he handles your lines and welcomes you to the city!!! There is a great museum of the history of the Albemarle region - the price is the same as that for the dockage so the price is right. There is great provisioning within walking distance, a super coffee house/deli with wifi (where John and Colleen lived for a couple days since John maxed out his air card!) and plenty of cool bars within several blocks of the waterfront area (my personal favorite was Thumpers - they knew us by name!!)
One rainy day we rented a car to visit Steve and Di Koch in Great Bridge - they also own a 49' DeFever RPH and are friends of friends. We are finding, much to our surprise and pleasure, that this cruising community, especially DeFever owners, is a very close knit group! After a delightful afternoon of getting to know each other, we left feeling very much like we had met some great people and new friends!! In fact we are planning to meet up with them again tomorrow in Belhaven and look forward to crossing their path often on our trip south!! Steve is even going to help us with some electrical work once we get down to Stuart, Florida - he is the guru!! but, we're learning!!
As people say, all good things must come to an end - in our case so we can find the next great place and the next great adventure. We had a fabulous cruise down the Pasquotank River and across the Albemarle Sound - we were joined by a whole convoy of other boats, many that had left Elizabeth City with us. As we entered the Alligator River, you won't believe what we saw - no, not an alligator, but a shark just cruising right next to our boat, its dorsal fin just off our starboard beam.
OK that cinched it - no swimming for us tonight!!! Now sitting in Alligator River Marina, we are surrounded by a bunch of the same boats that were with us in Elizabeth City.
As I sit here, the word just came down the dock - BYOB cruisers party on the docks at 5:00. Did I mention I LOVE this life!
Tomorrow morning we are off to Belhaven, NC where we plan on not only meeting up with Steve and Di but also Colleen's parents. Yes, you read that right. Ma and Pa Kelly (we have adopted them as the official boat parents) are headed down to Florida and are going to make a slight detour to meet up with us in Belhaven. There's something kind of funny about the fact that they will take 2 days to drive there from NH and its taken us about 2 1/2 months to get there by water. Bet we have had more fun though....
Happy Birthday, Dee Dee!!!
4 days ago